The KDE Project announced a few moments ago the release of the beta version of the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS desktop environment for GNU/Linux operating systems.
Designed as the next long-term support (LTS) version of the popular desktop environment, replacing the KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS on users’ computers when it will be out early next month, KDE Plasma 5.12 is an important milestone that introduces numerous stability and reliability improvements, along with a bunch of new and long-anticipated features.
One of the most important changes in KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS is the greatly improved support for the next-generation Wayland display server, with a long-term support promise as the KDE Project will continue to patch bugs and other issues until the end of life of the desktop environment next year.
Some of the new Wayland features introduced in KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS include the ability to set the output screen resolution, as well as to disable and enable outputs through KScreen, screen rotation, automatic touchscreen calibration and screen rotation based on the orientation sensor, full-screen windows, real-time scheduling policy, Night Color in KWin, and window rules.
“We have been working hard focusing on speed and stability for this release. Boot time to desktop has been improved by reviewing the code for anything which blocks execution,” reads today’s announcement. “The team has been triaging and fixing bugs in every aspect of the codebase, tidying up artwork, removing corner cases and ensuring cross desktop integration.”
Here’s what’s new in KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS
Apart from the Wayland improvements, KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS promises lots of other cool new features, including desktop widgets and search, a unified look for the default Breeze theme, smartphone integration through KDE Connect for receiving notifications of text messages or transferring of files right from your desktop, and infinite customization possibilities.
KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS also promises to use less CPU and RAM despite all these goodies, bring more usability improvements to the Global Menu, add more accessibility fixes in KRunner, enable selection of notification text with new “copy link” feature, a slimmer Kickoff application menu layout, enhance the Weather applet, as well as to display of per-process graphs for the CPU usage in System Activity and System Monitor.
The Plasma Discover package manager is coming with a bunch of improvements of its own too. Of course, KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS will also incorporate all the features and improvements that have been added to the desktop environment since KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS, including previews in notifications, Task Manager enhancements, Global Menus, spring loaded folders, music controls in lock screen, a new System Settings design, and Plasma Vaults.
KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS is coming early next month, on February 6, 2018, and will be supported until April 2019 with at least nine maintenance updates. Until then, you can try the beta today by installing the necessary packages for your favorite GNU/Linux distribution. Also, check out the screenshot gallery below for more details on the new features.